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Robert Helenius Latest Fighter To Test Positive For PEDs

Robert Helenius Latest Fighter To Test Positive For PEDs featured image
Swedish-Finnish boxer Robert Helenius gestures during a press conference in New York City on October 13, 2022, ahead of his WBC heavyweight championship fight against US boxer Deontay Wilder. - Wilder and Helenius will fight on October 15, 2022 at Barclays Center. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Robert Helenius is the most recent fighter to have ended up with an adverse finding in his drug test following his August 12th fight against Anthony Joshua at the O2 Arena. This makes him the third fighter in just a month to have his drug test come out as positive for alleged PED use.

According to Matchroom’s report, Robert Helenius was tested on Friday, August 12th, a day before his fight with Anthony Joshua, with the test turning out to be positive approximately two weeks later. It is still unknown, however, which illegal substance was detected and how much of it he had in his system. Therefore, there is no way to conclude how much of an effect this apparent banned substance had on his performance against Joshua.

This news comes off the back of Dillian Whyte’s own failed drug test — which has yet to highlight what banned substance was found in his system. Whyte has also not been suspended as of yet by any anti-doping institution or governing body.

Despite this concerning trend of boxers fighting under Matchroom returning ‘adverse findings’ in their drug tests — whether they are signed to the promotion or not, the significant number of positive tests discovered recently might be indicative of Matchroom’s investment in drug testing.

As a promotion, Matchroom has been known to allocate a substantial budget for testing, and judging by the latest batch of positive drug test results, they are receiving a return on their investment. Prior to this revelation of Helenius’ drug test, Alycia Baumgardner & Conor Benn — two Matchroom signees — and Dillian Whyte [a free agent who often fights for Matchroom on a fight-by-fight basis] have also returned adverse findings in their drug tests.

Though out of all the aforementioned fighters only Conor Benn has been suspended with his case still pending by UKAD, this recent wave of positive drug tests may have unveiled an uncomfortable reality regarding the use of doping, not just in boxing, but in sports overall.

Matchroom’s official message on the results of Robert Helenius’ recent drug test results.

Despite the recent return in positive results, Matchroom might need to allocate even more resources to ensure that test results can be obtained more quickly to prevent boxers from competing with potential banned substances in their system.

Both Helenius and Baumgardner, for example, had their tests show adverse findings after their fights, indicating that while Matchroom’s investments in drug testing seem effective, there is still room for improvement in terms of expediting results. Both of these fighters were tested the day before the fight, only to have a banned substance discovered in their system weeks after the fight.

Ideally, the tests should yield results on the day of the fight for the sake of true transparency and consistency. However, it is at least a positive sign that Matchroom’s commitment to drug testing is revealing potential violations, as it is often suspected that a significant percentage of boxers might be using PEDs without getting caught.